Move to introduce heritage sites to the less privileged

A new range of educational programmes was launched yesterday to introduce the less privileged to Singapore's heritage sites and institutions.

There will be free guided trails of historical sites, workshops and interactive programmes at museums specially tailored to the needs of low-income families, people with disabilities or special needs, at-risk youth and senior citizens.

HeritageCares, an initiative by the National Heritage Board (NHB), aims to reach about 12,000 Community Chest beneficiaries over the first three years.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said at the launch event yesterday that the activities will allow more people to enjoy Singapore's heritage collection, as well as give people the chance to volunteer.

"It's important that our heritage is presented to all parts of our society and we'd like it to be as inclusive as possible," she said.

The programmes will be supported by a $750,000 donation from watch retailer Cortina Watch, from the auction of a table clock created by Patek Philippe.

Money will also be contributed by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth's Cultural Matching Fund.

The NHB hopes to attract companies to donate and encourage their employees to volunteer under the initiative.

It is also working with Youth Corps Singapore, whose volunteers will be trained as guides for the 8km Jubilee Walk - a trail which connects the past, present and future elements of the Singapore story.

Yesterday morning, Ms Fu joined a group of around 80 volunteers and people from low-income families on a section of the Jubilee Walk from the National Museum to the Spice Garden at Fort Canning Park and Singapore Philatelic Museum, - the first activity under HeritageCares.

One participant, who gave her name as Ms Emilia, 44, said the outing was a very fruitful one for herself and her daughters.

She attended the tour with her husband, Mr Des Iskandar, 52, and their two youngest children, aged six and 10.

"We usually don't have time to go to Fort Canning Park or the museums," said the administrative assistant.

The family especially enjoyed the Singapore Philatelic Museum, where she was able to explain to her children how mail was processed.

"Nowadays most news is sent by WhatsApp, so I told them about how we used to send Hari Raya wishes by cards," she said.

This article was first published on March 14, 2016.
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